Print this page

Buried Treasures in the Periodical Stacks

Steven Kilgore, Access Services,

Housing the best research collection of all public libraries west of Mississippi, Access Services of Central Library maintains, manages, and provides access to multitude of periodicals that date back to the Nineteenth Century.  Many varied and interesting photocopy requests for the rare items in our collection came our way throughout the years.  The ones that always seem to speak to me are the ones from the older bound periodicals, forgotten dusty volumes meditating on shelves slowly succumbing to the ravages of time.  Three foreign language titles that spring to mind are: L’illustration Journal Universel, Deutsche Kunst Und Dekoration, and Mexico En El Arte.

L’illustration Journal Universel (see above) stands out not just because of the quality of its prints, but also because its broad scope of subjects.  First published on March 4, 1843, L’illustration was the first French language illustrated weekly magazine.  It captured 5 million images through engravings from throughout the world, celebrating events, discoveries, and diverse cultures. The first issue of the publication coincided with the opening of the first Paris to Orleans Rail Line.  This publication had been a stable in French homes, expanding people’s outlook and imaginations.

Deutsche Kunst Und Dekoration, published between 1897 and 1934, encompasses the ideas of Art Nouveau in architecture and design.  It was popular amongst artists and architects. One very poignant drawing is for the design of “Entwurf für den Israelitischen Friedhof Düsseldorf” (the Israelite cemetery Düsseldorf).  From the June 1919 issue, a design was being highlighted and celebrated from a more tolerant time in pre Fascist Germany. A lot of the earlier issues of this publication have been digitized and are available on the World Wide Web. http://archive.org/search.php?query=periodicals%20art%20Die%20Kunst&page=1

The magazine of the Instituto Nacional De Bellas Artes is called Mexico en El Arte. This magazine highlighted and promoted artist, artisans, dance and writers of Mexico’s rich and varied cultural history.  In one volume you will find a poem by Efrain Huerta, images of Diego Rivera’s Colonial period paintings, and other artifacts from civilizations past.

These and much more lie waiting to be discovered on the dusty shelves of forgotten and neglected publications. They were periodically brought back to life by explorers far or near searching Worldcat for information on some project, paper, or creative endeavor. These research efforts shine light again on our hidden gems, in the catacombs of knowledge better known as periodical stacks.


Top